By: Denery Noone, Scott Brock-Wilson, and Justin Lynch
ARIZONA CARDINALS - 8
Scott: Over: Last year was the first year the Cardinals failed to win 10 games since 2012. Arizona returns most of their difference makers players, leading them back into the playoffs this year.
Denery: Over: Last year I questioned the Cardinals ability to sustain success with an aging quarterback and a slightly overrated defense, but I fully expect Palmer and the Cards to bounce back this year and challenge the Seahawks in the NFC West. They have far too many weapons on both sides of the ball, as long as Palmer limits his mistakes they should win 10 or 11 games.
Lynch: Over: The Cardinals still finished 7-8-1 despite being one of the league’s biggest disappointments. The talent is there and, as long as Carson Palmer is decent, the Cards should go over eight wins.
ATLANTA FALCONS - 9.5
Scott: Under: WARNING: the Falcons will not make the playoffs this year. There will be a big drop off from last year. Matt Ryan will fail to perform up to his MVP caliber year from last year, and Julio will struggle to stay healthy.
Denery: OVER: THEY ARE THE BEST TEAM IN THE NFC. STILL.
Lynch: Over: The Falcons will be good again, but expect a regression on offense. Everything went right for them last year, but I don’t expect a Panthers-type drop off. I expect 10 or 11 wins, but wouldn’t be surprised if this went under.
BALTIMORE RAVENS - 9
Scott: Under: The Ravens failed to make any big changes this offseason. Their offense struggled last year and is posed to do so again this year. After finishing with a .500 record last year, I look for them to repeat that result.
Denery: Push: There isn’t a team more equipped for mediocrity in today’s NFL than the Baltimore Ravens. They have a mediocre quarterback, mediocre weapons, and a mediocre defense. Fortunately for them, they play the Browns twice, the Bengals twice, the Colts, the Jaguars, the Bears, and they have enough talent to win a few games they otherwise shouldn’t.
Lynch: Under: They probably land at eight or nine wins, but I definitely don’t feel comfortable with the Ravens getting into the double digits. I’ll take the under even though they should be a better team than last year.
BUFFALO BILLS - 6
Scott: Under: Who knows how long Tyrod Taylor will still be the QB and they sold off almost every game changing player they had this offseason. It feels like the beginning of a long rebuild for the Bills.
Denery: Over: Regardless of how I feel about the Bills and their puzzling offseason deals, they still have too much talent to not win at least 7 games, especially when they play the Jets twice.
Lynch: Push: The team isn’t committed to its quarterback and it certainly is not trying to win games this season. The Bills made several moves this offseason to set itself up for future success, at the expense of this year’s roster. McCoy has an injury history and a lot of miles on him, and without him the offense is a wreck. Still, the Bills have talent and finished with a positive point differential last season en route to seven wins.
CAROLINA PANTHERS - 8.5
Scott: Over: The Panthers were victim to the super bowl slump last year. Their offense lacked the punch from the year before. They addressed this through the draft by drafted the 2 most dynamic players in the draft in McCaffrey and Samuel. Look for their offense to have a bounce back year as their defense holds steady.
Denery: Under: This Panthers team, as much as I want to believe in them, does not have the defense necessary to win games in the division they play in. It is entirely plausible that they go 0-6 in their division, meaning they are going to have to play extremely well against the rest of their schedule. I see them at 8-8.
Lynch: Under: The Panthers won six games last season. The division is better plus they play in New England and against Green Bay and Minnesota. They have the talent win nine games, but I don’t feel confident they will.
CHICAGO BEARS - 5.5
Scott: Under: The Bears needed help in almost every position last year. They proceeded to draft a QB at No.2 overall in the draft just to have him be the 3rd string QB behind Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez. The Bears will get Kevin White back but lost Marshall and Meredith (for the season). It is hard to see the offense improving much, and their defense improvement won’t be enough to win them 6 games.
Denery: Over: I could absolutely see the Bears winning 6 or 7 games this year with a slightly revamped quarterback position, a young and improving defense, a youth movement at wideout and running back, and a solid coaching staff. I’m more curious to see how long it takes for Trubisky to get the starting job, though.
Lynch: Under: I don’t believe in Mike Glennon and now teams know what to expect from Jordan Howard. With Jeffrey gone and Meredith injured, the offense has a dearth of weapons. The defense is better, but not good enough to get them six wins.
CINCINNATI BENGALS - 8.5
Scott: Over: The Bengals had a rough season last year, well underperforming. However, they were one of the five most unlucky teams according to their pythagorean wins, implying a potential bounce back year.
Denery: Under: I have no faith in Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals. They are chronic underachievers, their defense continues to age, and they play in a really tough division. 7-9.
Lynch: Under: I don’t trust the Bengals. Joe Mixon will help the run game and A.J. Green is back from injury, but the defense isn’t where it needs to be.
CLEVELAND BROWNS - 4.5
Scott: Under: I love what the Browns did in the draft, and that they will let their rookies play right away. But, let’s hold off on the confetti. The Browns are still The Browns. It will be tough for them to reach the 5 win mark.
Denery: Under: As much as I’d love to see DeShone Kizer go out and tear up the NFL and win some ballgames, it is simply not plausible with the talent they possess.
Lynch: Under: They will show improvement. They have some solid weapons, a new quarterback, and commitment to Isaiah Crowell (which could be good or bad). But they won one game last year and they didn’t do anything this offseason to make me think they can win five games, unless Kizer lights it up.
DALLAS COWBOYS - 9.5
Scott: Dak will hit a sophomore slump hard without Elliott. He will struggle with the reliance of the run game. However, I loved their draft and the extra pieces they added to the defense. The Cowboys still have enough talent on both sides of the ball to get to double digits.
Denery: Over: The six game suspension for Elliott is obviously going to hurt, but while everyone believes Prescott is going to regress, I truly believe Dak will flourish under these unfortunate circumstances.
Lynch: Under: This assumes Elliot will be out six games, even though he may push the suspension back to 2018 with legal action. They were one of the luckiest teams last year by pythagorean expectation, played an easy schedule, and won a lot of close games. This year, those things even out and we see a team on the brink of 10 wins.
DENVER BRONCOS - 8.5
Scott: Over: I don’t think you can argue that the Broncos got much worse this offseason. They bring back the same team plus a couple pieces here and there.
Denery: Over: Always. Their defense is way too talented.
Lynch: Over: They won nine last season and Simien should be better. The defense is a little older but still top notch.
DETROIT LIONS - 8
Scott: Push: The Lions were lucky last year and face a tough schedule this year. Abdullah will make a difference and if both him and Riddick stay healthy, the Lions have two real threats out of the backfield to complement Stafford.
Denery: Push: Normally I would give the Lions the over here and put them around 10 wins, but the NFC is way too talented and there are going to be a lot of teams vying for those two wild card spots. They simply don’t have enough on both sides of the ball to jump in front of the pack.
Lynch: Under: I’m not a big fan of Detroit. Their first eight games are vs. Arizona, at NYG, vs Atlanta, at Minnesota, vs. Carolina, at New Orleans, vs Pittsburgh, and at Green Bay. The rest of the schedule is better, but not great. I just don’t see how they get to nine wins.
GREEN BAY PACKERS - 10
Scott: Over: The Packers went on an incredible run last year just to get to 10 wins and be able to make the playoffs. They have officially shed themselves of the 250 pounder that goes by Eddie Lacy. Now the packers don’t waste plays forcing it up the middle with Lacy. Look for them to continue streaking into this year.
Denery: Push: Chronic underachievers. There will be some bulls*** excuse that comes out in week 10 when the offense continues to struggle and the defense get torched for the fourth week in a row, but they will eventually right the ship and be a team nobody wants to see come January.
Lynch: Push: I have some concerns and they have a bunch of tough games, but Rodgers is too good to pick the under. 10 wins seems about right.
HOUSTON TEXANS - 8.5
Scott: Over: A rookie QB winning 9 games? Usually I say no, but not when the rookie is replacing Brock Osweiler, yes. JJ Watt will be returning after only playing in 3 games last year. The Texans should be able to reach the 9 win mark again, even in a tougher division this year.
Denery: Over: Over but for a different reason that Scott says, because Watson probably won’t start until 2018. I think Savage will be just average enough to get this team to nine wins with the defense they have.
Lynch: UNDER: BEST BET: The Texans were one of the luckies teams last year by pythagorean wins. Their expected 6.5 wins turned into 9 despite Brock Osweiler’s struggles. They were also good in close games, another stat which tends to regress. The Titans and Jaguars will be better, and the quarterback position is shaky. Lamar Miller isn’t good, and even though J.J. Watt is back, he may not be the same player.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS - 9
Scott: Push: The Colts are nothing without Andrew Luck. With his shoulder already in doubt and missing game 1, I don’t believe the Colts will improve off of their 8 wins last season.
Denery: Under: Nobody knows what is going on with Andrew Luck and that shoulder, and on top of that their defense still can’t stop a nosebleed.
Lynch: Under: If Luck is hurt or if the injury spills further into the season, this could get ugly. They have no running game and a bad defense. Without Luck, they are in trouble.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - 6
Scott: Over: Their defense should take a big step this year, but we can’t say the same for Bortles. Despite the QB play, they have talent all around the field offensively. The Jaguars will be pretenders for playoff contention at the beginning of the season, but finish close to .500.
Denery: Over: I’m going to go out on a limb here and show support for my guy Blake Bortles for the last time. I truly hope he can turn this thing around and start making winning plays, because there is way too much talent in Jacksonville.
Lynch: Over: Super unlucky last year, bad in close games, and a much harder schedule than what they’ll see this year. Bortles stinks, but the defense is much better and if Fournette can give them a good running game, it will hide Bortles. They’ll win games by playing defense and milking the clock on offense. Allen Robinson is super talented if they need someone to make a play. Seven wins is ambitious, but I’ll grab the over.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS - 9
Scott: Over: Despite their fortuitous season last year according to pythagorean wins, I think the Chiefs will easily eclipse the 9 win mark. They won’t go 6-0 within conference like they did last year, but I expect them to fight through a difficult schedule (Cowboys, Patriots, Steelers) in order to get back to double digit wins.
Denery: Over: Despite the fact that everyone is calling for Patrick Mahomes to take over at quarterback, I still believe in my guy Alex Smith. The injury to Spencer Ware will certainly hurt, but that is a really talented football team that for the most part is well coached.
Lynch: Over: There’s no reason these guys don’t win 9 or 10 games. They have the talent and the continuity to be a good regular season team once again, and unless they mess with Alex Smith’s starting role, they will be fine.